Last October, I rejoined a former team but this time as a test lead. Previously, I was a tester in this team but I got pulled out in Nov 2010 to lead another test team. That other project had come to an end, and the options that my manager had for me was to either go back or join QS (another division). I ended up going back. It was like joining a new team altogether though. Only 1 of the original set of testers I knew remained.
One of the first things I did was try to collect my bearings. I wanted to know where is what, how do I find this, and so on. It was a bit all over the place. My OC-ness kicked in and I ended up centralizing the available testing-related materials and tools, and deploying the structure to the team. I didn’t want any new guys feeling lost as I was, and I don’t think you should need to ask more than 1 person for stuff that should be readily accessible to you.
Next up, I worked on the training materials. Again, I remember having received a lot of references (some obsolete) and not knowing where to start. So I made a visual outline. In the course of doing so, I also identified needed training topics with no available references. I prepped a couple or so slides for some of the topics, and also revisited the older ones. Still a long way to go, but at least the ball is rolling. My teammate, Tin, has taken over the training area so that’s one thing off my back.
In one of our earlier test team meetings, Tin facilitated a rant session to identify potential areas for improvement. The thing with rant sessions though is they’ll only work if someone drives the initiatives for improvements, otherwise you’ll end up with just a list of rants. There were nice ideas, but there weren’t any plans on working on them. Those things won’t just happen. I asked for a copy and posted them in a tab in my excel task list. That was another thing the test team didn’t have prior, btw, a task list or a less forgettable way of tracking the stuff they were doing for the test team. So far, I’ve picked off some of the low-hanging fruits marking them off to indicate whether something was or is being done for them.
(I’m nearing the edge of the page, need to wrap up.) Feeling lost or frustrated has been the starting point for all these. There are some things that shouldn’t have to be as difficult as they are. There’ll always be something to complain about. But you either let it defeat you (in which case you’ll just keep complaining about it) or you actually do something about it. It doesn’t have to be so radical so as to change things overnight– baby steps are fine — as long as you’re heading towards something.
Be not afraid of going slowly; be only afraid of standing still.
[Notes, Feb 2012]